Sunday's Bears-Broncos game is the final one for a Chicago sports giant, and it warrants acknowledging.
When I left a very, very good situation as the business writer and columnist with the Daily Herald and took over as the Herald’s Bears beat writer, one of my worries was what the daily workplace would be like. I had an incredible group of colleagues in the Herald news offices and now I was going where everyone in the media room at Bears headquarters was competition.
I shouldn’t have worried, because of one individual in particular.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
Fred Mitchell was on the Bears for the Tribune at the time, something of a legend because of being the only journalist in Chicago to have been the lead beat writer on every professional team in Chicago – Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks, Bulls, and Bears at that time. Fred became one of those people who taught me how to do this job, mostly by ruining a lot of mornings, opening the morning paper and muttering to myself, “Shoot, how did Fred get THAT?!”
More than that, Fred became a friend over the years, he and his wife, Kim, coming to the house for dinner, lots and lots of meals on the road, and always with someone who was an elite-grade journalist and well above that as a person.
We both went on to different things over the years, me to the Tribune and then to Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, Fred to his own column and to a variety of assignments, college and pro.
That run is coming to a gentle finish on Sunday, with the Bears-Broncos game representing Fred’s final game covering for the Tribune. Fred is taking a buyout and managing his exit, leaving on his own terms, which couldn’t be happening to a more quality individual.
So an appreciative and warm nod to Fred as he exits this chapter of his distinguished career, in which he was a standard. No disrespect to anyone here, but a lot of us are “sportswriters” – Fred Mitchell is a writer who covers sports.
Good luck, Fredo.